The Company Secretary assists various departments and advises directors on statutory requirements of the company
With the Indian corporate sector witnessing an exponential growth, the demand for qualified professionals who can take up specialised corporate functions has increased. A Company Secretary (CS) is one such professional. Companies with a paid up share capital of Rs.5 crore or more and all companies seeking listing on the stock exchange are required to appoint a full-time Company Secretary.
The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), which has been constituted under an Act of Parliament i.e., the Company Secretaries Act, 1980, is involved in developing and regulating this profession. The ICSI has its headquarters in New Delhi, four Regional Councils at New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai, and 68 Chapters spread across the country.
The Company Secretary assists various departments such as accounts, finance, legal, human resource and administration, and advises directors on statutory requirements of the company.
A CS maintains company records, arranges meetings, plans and manages taxes, assesses loans and investment options and explores expansion, merger, joint ventures and acquisition opportunities.
He is the link between directors and shareholders. Company Secretaries can succeed only if they keep updating themselves with the latest information in the corporate sector especially related to law. Besides thorough knowledge of relevant subjects, command over language is another skill they need to have.
Loyalty and integrity are two personal traits that are essential for these professionals as they will be working with the top management of the company and will have knowledge of critical information.
ICSI registers students with 10+2 and graduate qualifications for the foundation course. There are three stages in pursuing a CS course, namely foundation, executive and professional programme. The course content includes corporate and economic laws, management, accounting and taxation. ICSI conducts the Company Secretaryship examination twice a year, in June and December.
It provides postal/oral coaching and training, arranges e-learning for students through web-based training, video-based training and live virtual classroom, and training for executive/professional programme passed students in companies/with Company Secretaries in practice empanelled with the institute.
Admission is open throughout the year. The duration of the foundation course is six months excluding the months of admission and examination.
The duration of the executive course is nine months and that of professional course, 18 months.
The fee is Rs.3,600 for foundation course, Rs.7,000 for executive course (commerce graduates), Rs.7,750 for non-commerce graduates, Rs. 6,500 for foundation pass students and Rs.7,500 for professional programme course. Stipend is available for students during the professional programme course.
Growth prospects depend on the aptitude and work experience of the person. A degree in law, cyber law or MBA is an added advantage. To begin with, a qualified candidate will get a salary of Rs. 3.5 lakh a year.